Review of Dialogic Discussion and the Paideia Seminar

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Review of
Dialogic Discussion and the Paideia Seminar
by Laura Billings and Jill Fitzgerald
By
Frances Moore
EDU 630, Fall 2012

In this article the authors wanted to examine the types of discussions found in Dialogic discussions and Paideia seminars in real live classrooms. This case study gathered numerous amounts of data to support the questioning and findings of discussions and seminars. On the other hand, they only examined one teacher of a high school classroom. From a practitioner’s point of view, many teaching techniques and strategies were brought to light that could be useful in the classroom. In the conclusion of the study the authors may not have gained the outcome they were searching for, but they enlightened the teacher, themselves, and possibly others about the tricky and sometimes trivial world of education.

The researchers found that questions surrounded the ability to define specifics about types of discussions. It was well defined that discussions were valuable in the classroom. Most often the type of discussions with the teacher stimulating the discussion with topic related questions and students answering is discovered in the typical classroom. With this discussion, the teacher leads the students to topics and issues the she deems important. The researchers referred to the teacher’s actions as “teacher-fronted”. Teachers may be frowned upon by scholars for this type of teaching but many look at it as wise use of discussion time that encourages students to search the importance of the topic on the discussion table.

Billings and Fitzgerald defined dialogic discussions as having three characteristics. The first characteristic deals with the choice of topic for discussion is chosen by the members of the group. The second characteristic surrounds the understanding of the topic, which is arrived at by the discussion of the group and not by one participant, a student or teacher derived. The third characteristic relates to...
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